Thai Favourite Giggling Squid’s New Cookbook is Here to Spice Up Your Winter

Just so we’re on the same page, we all love Thai food, right? A plate of pad Thai or gra pao can transport you to sandy white beaches just like *that* – and given the darker evenings and general gloominess of the UK right now, it’s quite the tonic.

So when the opportunity arose to dine and cook with the Giggling Squid team at their first cookbook launch, I happily trotted over to picture-perfect Wimbledon Village, home to one of the chain’s only London restaurants – making a mental note to check Rightmove on the way home, of course.

If you’re not familiar with the chain, Giggling Squid restaurants are every inch the Insta-worthy hangout. Beautiful floral and botanical décor sets the scene for informal meet-ups which almost always start with one of their classic-with-a-twist cocktails, followed by Thai tapas and larger plates (which you can share, but won’t want to) washed down with Prosecco – or Chapel Down English sparkling wine. 

The ambiance is warm and buzzy, and the selfie opportunities are plentiful – but there’s also plenty of substance behind all that style. The flavours are punchy, the presentation is creative and the menu is varied yet not intimidatingly long. It’s set up for eating the Thai way, which is less about starters and mains, and more about ordering a variety of dishes that bring something different to the table – and it’s all set up to be shared for a more relaxed social experience.

The menu serves up all the Thai classics in a way that feels truly fresh; you’ll find authentic curries, noodles, stir fry dishes and aromatic fish and meat, but everything’s got that zing thanks to the liberal use of spices and fresh garnishes made with jicama, mint and citrus. 

Talking of classics, it wouldn’t be Thai without spring rolls. So to kick off the event we tried making our own version from the menu and the new cookbook. Thankfully – as I was sat next to Giggling Squid’s owner Pranee, no pressure! – this was gloriously simple and something I’d be tempted to try again at home. Top tip: avoid soggy fillings at all cost! Next I chose the Turmeric Sea Bass Parcel which came wrapped in banana leaf. This was cooked to soft, flaky perfection and beautifully flavoured.

On to drinks. The cocktail menu keeps things consistent with the food, so expect classic mixes infused with flavours like green tea, mint, lychee, ginger and lemongrass. The staff let us have a go at one ourselves – and it turns out I make a mean Mango Chilli Mosquito, which is easy enough when it’s all measured out for you. I can also vouch for the smooth and creamy Matcha-Tini topped with edible flowers. The wine menu covers all the bases, too, with bubbles aplenty and a good mix of white, rose and red. 

Next up, desserts. The Melting Heart Chocolate Dessert has that irresistible ooziness that’ll tempt most sweet-toothed diners, but a friend who’d recently visited one of the restaurants recommended – or rather, insisted – that I try the Jasmine & Toasted Rice ice cream. And now it’s my turn to insist the same. It’s not too sweet and has a subtle flavour that’ll make you wish you hadn’t agreed to share a dessert this time.

So back to the reason for the gathering in Wimbledon. Founder Pranee Laurillard invited us to celebrate the launch of Giggling Squid’s very first cookbook. With 46 restaurants across the UK and more opening soon, the chain has come a long way since the first branch opened its doors in Brighton 2002. It’s been Pranee’s ambition to share some recipes from the menu for a while, and now it’s here in all its hot pink glory – just in time for Christmas.

Although the book has serious shelf appeal, Pranee wants it to be a practical guide that really gets people cooking, rather than gathering dust looking pretty. So instead of page upon page of indulgent food photography, you’ll find beautiful yet simple imagery alongside easy-to-follow instructions that even novice cooks can get on board with. You won’t find overly specialist ingredients listed, either. Everything in the book should be easily found in your local supermarket. 

So there really is no excuse not to get cooking if you really want to spice up your winter. 

Visit to view the full menu, make a reservation or for more info on where you can get your hands on the cookbook, making for the perfect gift this Christmas!